Are you looking for a unique way to express yourself? Do you enjoy the aesthetic of old-school video games from the era of the Super Nintendo? If you answered yes to both of those questions, you may want to try pixel art.
So, what is pixel art? The simple answer is that pixel art is an image made up of pixels—individual squares of color. Pixel art is a bit like a digital mosaic: you’re assembling a lot of smaller pieces into one large picture.
Read on to learn more about pixel art, its current resurgence in popularity, and how to produce pixel art of your own.
The World of Pixel Art
Pixel art has its roots in early video games: everything from arcade classics like Pac-Man to home console hits like The Legend of Zelda used pixel art to display their characters and locales.
Pixel art arose due to the graphical limitations of the hardware available at the time. The arcade machines and consoles of the seventies and eighties couldn’t render complex images, so they used pixel art instead.
There are many types of pixel art; the most basic is 8-bit art, the original Nintendo Entertainment System utilized. This style uses larger pixels and has a limited color palette.
As a result, early video game characters like Mario had simple, yet iconic designs that have stood the test of time.
A Return to Popularity
In the nineties, advances in home console hardware resulted in a shift away from pixel art for game graphics. Instead, games moved to three-dimensional, polygonal renderings.
While most modern games have cutting-edge 3D graphics, the love for pixel art has never faded. Indie developers and intentionally retro games use modern pixel art software to create nostalgic pixel art visuals.
Large developers haven’t abandoned pixel art techniques, either. Companies like Square Enix are bringing pixel art back with so-called HD-2D releases featuring gorgeous pixel graphics.
How to Make Pixel Art
Pixel art is diverse, unique, and popular; the only question, then, is how to make pixel art of your own. The first step is to find pixel art software that works for you.
There are a variety of options out there. Many first-time artists use simple programs like MS Paint to hone their pixel art techniques before moving on to more specialized programs.
One of the benefits of pixel art is that it can be as detailed as you want. Evoke 8-bit graphics with a simple pattern or dive into the rich HD-2D look of modern games like Triangle Strategy!
If you want some pixel art for your business but don’t have time to learn to do it yourself, don’t worry—you can learn more about hiring a pixel artist here!
What Is Pixel Art? Now You Know
Pixel art has a long history and is seeing a welcome rise in po9pularity. You no longer need to ask the question, ‘What is pixel art?” Instead, you can work on making your own!
Are you looking for examples of pixel art to inspire your own work? Visit our entertainment blog to find (games both old and new) that utilize pixel art!